Friday, March 2, 2007

Good books, bad books

I thought I'd share my thoughts on 4 books I've read lately.

Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML - I wanted to teach my wife XHTML/CSS and this book was fantastic. Thorough and well organized, and funny. It's as about as interesting as you could make the subject. I highly recommend it.

PHP/MySQL Programming for the Absolute Beginner - Now I'm trying to teach my wife PHP development. From the title of this book, and several decent reviews, it seemed like a good choice. Boy was I wrong! I think most of the reviews written at were by amateur coders who don't know any better. The author makes niave assumptions about your development environment, writes bad html, and doesn't use best practices. Some of the examples are so nasty that they made my head hurt trying to explain them to my wife. Avoid this book!

PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide - So back to amazon I went and this time I did a lot more research. This book is very highly recommended and quite a few of the book reviewers know what they are talking about. We've just started into it, but the examples use proper XHTML, are fairly concise and well organized. He doesn't just assume that your environment has auto register globals enabled (yuck) and covers important topics like magic quotes early on, that tend to confuse people.

Head First Servlets and JSP - I just finished this book myself and I'm quite pleased by it. It's narrative is along the same style as the other books in the series. It's funny (sometimes cynical) and informative. The Kung-fu movie captions are awesome. This is one of the few IT books that I've ever read in it's entirety. I highly recommend!

I've just ordered Maven: A Developer's Notebook. That will be my next book to tackle. Now that I'm doing J2EE development, I'm looking for tools that will take the sting out of packaging and deployment. Maven seems to handle a lot of those issues for you. I'm looking foward to learning more about it.